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Frontiers in Zoology

M M Delgado, G Tikhonov, E Meyke, M Babushkin, T Bespalova, S Bondarchuk, A Esengeldenova, I Fedchenko, Y Kalinkin, A Knorre, G Kosenkov, V Kozsheechkin, A Kuznetsov, E Larin, D Mirsaitov, I Prokosheva, Y Rozhkov, A Rykov, I V Seryodkin, S Shubin, R Sibgatullin, N Sikkila, E Sitnikova, L Sultangareeva, A Vasin, L Yarushina, J Kurhinen, V Penteriani
Background: For brown bears ( Ursus arctos ), hibernation is a critical part of the annual life cycle because energy savings during hibernation can be crucial for overwintering, and females give birth to cubs at that time. For hibernation to be a useful strategy, timing is critical. However, environmental conditions vary greatly, which might have a negative effect on the functionality of the evolved biological time-keeping. Here, we used a long-term dataset (69 years) on brown bear denning phenology recorded in 12 Russian protected areas and quantified the phenological responses to variation in temperature and snow depth...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Aléssio Datovo, Pedro P Rizzato
Background: The facial musculature is a remarkable anatomical complex involved in vital activities of fishes, such as food capture and gill ventilation. The evolution of the facial muscles is largely unknown in most major fish lineages, such as the Actinopterygii. This megadiverse group includes all ray-finned fishes and comprises approximately half of the living vertebrate species. The Polypteriformes, Acipenseriformes, Lepisosteiformes, Amiiformes, Elopiformes, and Hiodontiformes occupy basal positions in the actinopterygian phylogeny and a comparative study of their facial musculature is crucial for understanding the cranial evolution of bony fishes (Osteichthyes) as a whole...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Rene Quispe, Elizabeth Yohannes, Manfred Gahr
Background: Birds, across their annual cycle, progress through sequences of life-history stages such as reproduction and molt. The mechanisms that control annual avian itineraries involve endocrine responses triggered by seasonal environmental factors, including changes in resource availability and/or photoperiod. However, at equatorial latitudes birds are exposed to different degrees of seasonality, and the mechanisms underlying phenology of birds near the equator remain less explored...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Luca Mattioli, Antonio Canu, Daniela Passilongo, Massimo Scandura, Marco Apollonio
Background: Density estimation is a key issue in wildlife management but is particularly challenging and labour-intensive for elusive species. Recently developed approaches based on remotely collected data and capture-recapture models, though representing a valid alternative to more traditional methods, have found little application to species with limited morphological variation. We implemented a camera trap capture-recapture study to survey wolf packs in a 560-km2 area of Central Italy...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Mirosława Bańbura, Michał Glądalski, Adam Kaliński, Marcin Markowski, Joanna Skwarska, Jarosław Wawrzyniak, Piotr Zieliński, Jerzy Bańbura
Background: Interspecies variation in avian egg shape and size is understandable in terms of adaptation, allometry and phylogeny. Within-species variation in egg properties influences offspring fitness and can be explained by differences in allocation of resources into reproductive components of life history in mulidimensionally variable environments. Egg size is inherently traded-off with clutch size, which may also be true of egg shape in some cases. We investigated long-term variation in egg shape and size between two geographically close populations of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus in relation to clutch size and habitat differences...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Alexandra Capodeanu-Nägler, Madlen A Prang, Stephen T Trumbo, Heiko Vogel, Anne-Katrin Eggert, Scott K Sakaluk, Sandra Steiger
Background: Immature stages of many animals can forage and feed on their own, whereas others depend on their parents' assistance to obtain or process food. But how does such dependency evolve, and which offspring and parental traits are involved? Burying beetles ( Nicrophorus ) provide extensive biparental care, including food provisioning to their offspring. Interestingly, there is substantial variation in the reliance of offspring on post-hatching care among species. Here, we examine the proximate mechanisms underlying offspring dependence, focusing on the larvae of N...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Svetlana Milošević-Zlatanović, Tanja Vukov, Srđan Stamenković, Marija Jovanović, Nataša Tomašević Kolarov
Background: As a small artiodactyl, the roe deer ( Capreolus capreolus L.) is characterized by biological plasticity and great adaptability demonstrated by their survival under a wide variety of environmental conditions. In order to depict patterns of phenotypic variation of roe deer body this study aims to quantify variation during ontogenetic development and determine how sex-specific reproductive investment and non-uniform habitat differences relate to phenotypic variation and do these differential investments mold the patterns of phenotypic variation through modular organisation...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Conrad Helm, Patrick Beckers, Thomas Bartolomaeus, Stephan H Drukewitz, Ioannis Kourtesis, Anne Weigert, Günter Purschke, Katrine Worsaae, Torsten H Struck, Christoph Bleidorn
Background: A median, segmented, annelid nerve cord has repeatedly been compared to the arthropod and vertebrate nerve cords and became the most used textbook representation of the annelid nervous system. Recent phylogenomic analyses, however, challenge the hypothesis that a subepidermal rope-ladder-like ventral nerve cord (VNC) composed of a paired serial chain of ganglia and somata-free connectives represents either a plesiomorphic or a typical condition in annelids. Results: Using a comparative approach by combining phylogenomic analyses with morphological methods (immunohistochemistry and CLSM, histology and TEM), we compiled a comprehensive dataset to reconstruct the evolution of the annelid VNC...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
V Behringer, J M G Stevens, T Deschner, R Sonnweber, G Hohmann
Background: Throughout life, physiological homeostasis is challenged and the capacity to cope with such challenges declines with increasing age. In many species, sex differences exist in life expectancy. Sex-specific differences have been related to extrinsic factors like mate competition and/or intrinsic proximate mechanisms such as hormonal changes. In humans, an intrinsic factor related to aging is soluble alpha klotho (α-Kl). Both sexes show an age-related decline in α-Kl, but throughout life women have higher levels than men of the same age...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
A M Dorado-Correa, S A Zollinger, B Heidinger, H Brumm
Background: Noise pollution is one of the leading environmental health risks for humans, linked to a myriad of stress-related health problems. Yet little is known about the long-term effects of noise on the health and fitness of wildlife. We experimentally investigated the direct and cross-generational effects of traffic noise on telomeres; a measure of cellular ageing that is predictive of disease and longevity in humans and other organisms. We exposed zebra finches ( Taenopygia guttata ) to three different treatment groups: 1) parents were exposed to traffic noise before and during breeding, together with their nestling young, 2) fledged juveniles but not their parents were exposed to traffic noise, and 3) control group birds were never exposed to traffic noise...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Julian K A Langowski, Dimitra Dodou, Marleen Kamperman, Johan L van Leeuwen
Tree frogs have the remarkable ability to attach to smooth, rough, dry, and wet surfaces using their versatile toe pads. Tree frog attachment involves the secretion of mucus into the pad-substrate gap, requiring adaptations towards mucus drainage and pad lubrication. Here, we present an overview of tree frog attachment, with focus on (i) the morphology and material of the toe pad; (ii) the functional demands on the toe pad arising from ecology, lifestyle, and phylogenetics; (iii) experimental data of attachment performance such as adhesion and friction forces; and (iv) potential perspectives on future developments in the field...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Bilgenur Baloğlu, Esther Clews, Rudolf Meier
Background: Macroinvertebrates such as non-biting midges (Chironomidae: Diptera) are important components of freshwater ecosystems. However, they are often neglected in biodiversity and conservation research because invertebrate species richness is difficult and expensive to quantify with traditional methods. We here demonstrate that Next Generation Sequencing barcodes ("NGS barcodes") can provide relief because they allow for fast and large-scale species-level sorting of large samples at low cost...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Adam Khalife, Roberto A Keller, Johan Billen, Francisco Hita Garcia, Evan P Economo, Christian Peeters
Background: While thousands of ant species are arboreal, very few are able to chew and tunnel through living wood. Ants of the genus Melissotarsus (subfamily Myrmicinae) inhabit tunnel systems excavated under the bark of living trees, where they keep large numbers of symbiotic armoured scale insects (family Diaspididae). Construction of these tunnels by chewing through healthy wood requires tremendous power, but the adaptations that give Melissotarsus these abilities are unclear. Here, we investigate the morphology of the musculoskeletal system of Melissotarsus using histology, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray spectrometry, X-ray microcomputed tomography (micro-CT), and 3D modelling...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Hendrik Langeloh, Hannah Wasser, Nicole Richter, Gerd Bicker, Michael Stern
Background: The neuromuscular junction is the chemical synapse where motor neurons communicate with skeletal muscle fibers. Whereas vertebrates and many invertebrates use acetylcholine as transmitter at the neuromuscular junction, in those arthropods examined up to now, glutamate and GABA are used instead. With respect to taxon sampling in a phylogenetic context, there is, however, only a limited amount of data available, focusing mainly on crustaceans and hexapods, and neglecting other, arthropod groups...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Franziska Spitzner, Rebecca Meth, Christina Krüger, Emanuel Nischik, Stefan Eiler, Andy Sombke, Gabriela Torres, Steffen Harzsch
Background: The life history stages of brachyuran crustaceans include pelagic larvae of the Zoea type which grow by a series of moults from one instar to the next. Zoeae actively feed and possess a wide range of organ systems necessary for autonomously developing in the plankton. They also display a rich behavioural repertoire that allows for responses to variations in environmental key factors such as light, hydrostatic pressure, tidal currents, and temperature. Brachyuran larvae have served as distinguished models in the field of Ecological Developmental Biology fostering our understanding of diverse ecophysiological aspects such as phenotypic plasticity, carry-over effects on life-history traits, and adaptive mechanisms that enhance tolerance to fluctuations in environmental abiotic factors...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Paul Gonzalez, Jeffrey Z Jiang, Christopher J Lowe
Background: Enteropneusts are benthic marine invertebrates that belong to the deuterostome phylum Hemichordata. The two main clades of enteropneusts are defined by differences in early life history strategies. In the Spengelidae and Ptychoderidae, development is indirect via a planktotrophic tornaria larva. In contrast, development in the Harrimanidae is direct without an intervening larval life history stage. Most molecular studies in the development and evolution of the enteropneust adult body plan have been carried out in the harrimanid Saccoglossus kowalevskii ...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Rafał Martyka, Ewa B Śliwińska, Mirosław Martyka, Mariusz Cichoń, Piotr Tryjanowski
Background: Prenatal antibody transfer is an immune-mediated maternal effect by which females can shape postnatal offspring resistance to pathogens and parasites. Maternal antibodies passed on to offspring provide primary protection to neonates against diverse pathogenic antigens, but they may also affect offspring growth and influence the development of an offspring's own immune response. The effects of maternal antibodies on offspring performance commonly require that the disease environment experienced by a mother prior to breeding matches the environment encountered by her offspring after hatching/birth...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Thomas F Schwaha, Andreas Wanninger
Background: Myoanatomical studies of adult bryozoans employing fluorescent staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) have been chiefly conducted on freshwater bryozoans. The diversity of muscular systems in the marine bryozoans is currently not well known with only two species being studied in more detail. The aim of this study is to unravel the diversity of muscle systems of 15 ctenostome bryozoans by phalloidin-coupled fluorescence stainings combined with CLSM. Results: In general, the myoanatomy of the selected ctenostomes shows significant similarities and consists of 1) muscles associated with the body wall, 2) apertural muscles, 3) lophophoral muscles, 4) tentacle sheath muscles, 5) digestive tract muscles and 6) the prominent retractor muscles...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Madeleine Geiger, Marcelo R Sánchez-Villagra
Background: Whether the great morphological disparity of domesticated forms is the result of uniformly higher evolutionary rates compared to the wild populations is debated. We provide new data on changes of skull dimensions within historical time periods in wild and domesticated dogs and pigs to test if domestication might lead to an accelerated tempo of evolution in comparison to the wild conspecifics. Darwins and Haldanes were used to quantify evolutionary rates. Comparisons with evolutionary rates in other species and concerning other characteristics from the literature were conducted...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
Jan Buellesbach, Sebastian G Vetter, Thomas Schmitt
Background: Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) have been documented to play crucial roles as species- and sex-specific cues in the chemical communication systems of a wide variety of insects. However, whether they are sufficient by themselves as the sole cue triggering sexual behavior as well as preference of con- over heterospecific mating partners is rarely assessed. We conducted behavioral assays in three representative species of parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) to determine their reliance on CHC as species-specific sexual signaling cues...
2018: Frontiers in Zoology
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